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How to Advertise Like a Small Business

In today's changing economy small businesses are beginning to gain the advantage over large corporations with an increased flexibility that allows them to better adapt to the needs and opinions of their customers.

Combine this with the advance of new media technologies such as Google TV Ads which offer low-budget campaigns to run alongside the likes of Wal-Mart on national cable networks and you can see the potential for small business success.

Here are a few key steps

  1. Understand your goals, large companies commonly advertise to create brand recognition and recall (spending big budgets doing so via print, radio, and TV.), small businesses don't need to worry about inflated budgets or 30-day marketing cycles. You're looking to drive sales today, not tomorrow.
  2. Developing offer-driven advertising will capitalize on your local presence with special "one-week-only" deals or "referral discounts," allow you to utilize smaller, short term ad space, and allow you to run more ads for the same cost as a few large ads.
  3. Focus on ninja and underground marketing techniques, these are the more unconventional methods of advertising such as: "buzz" or word-of-mouth marketing through social networks, "viral" videos (hard to plan, but cheap and easy to produce), online banner campaigns, free trials (for a day/month), podcasts, e-newsletters, stunts and much more. The successful execution of these tactics will generate a immediate response from your community.
  4. Love your products and use yor serrvices! The biggest downfall of any marketing effort is indifference. If you're not passionate about your business, why should your customer be?
  5. Don't forget the little things, that's what makes you special. By utilizing the local news via press releases, continuing to improve customer service, sponsoring local events, and joining forces with other small businesses in the area you can expand your influence and reduce your costs dramatically.
  6. Lastly, keep track of what works and what doesn't, making sure to reinvest in ideas/campaigns that have yielded a strong return both financially and socially and dont be afraid to drop the ones that dont quickly as they will eat away at yor budget
Online Resources

StumbleUponA great way to bring new people directly to your site, Stumble shows your page directly to interested web surfers so you are gauranteed to reach like minded people

Google Adwordsgoogle Adwords is a great, cheap way to start your online marketing campaigns. You can get up and running easily with targered, focused, Cost-Per-Click campaigns where you only pay for the traffic that comes your way.

Microsoft AdcenterIf you have a software product, Microsoft is a great way to reach people. Their new Adcenter lets you advertise across their entire network including Bing, MSNBC, MSN, and much more.

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